The Next Best Book Club discussion

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message 1: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Have just joined goodreads - I've been on LibraryThing for a couple of years now but this looks like a good alternative (little less cataloguing, perhaps, and a bit more fun? Just my first impression). I'm interested in meeting people with similar tastes in literature - my favourites include Jorge Luis Borges, Milan Kundera and Kazuo Ishiguro - and getting some good recommendations.

I'm currently reading The Question of Bruno: Stories by Aleksandar Hemon and really enjoying it. The stories are a real mix of styles and subjects, from childhood summer holidays to the siege of Sarajevo, but there are strange links running through them - mostly very dark recurring imagery like starving cats, cockroaches, etc. Anyway, not everybody's taste but it works for me. Has anyone read his latest, The Lazarus Project? Think that might be next on my reading list...

Anyway, greetings to all, and best wishes for 2009! Look forward to making some friends here and having some good discussions about good books.


message 2: by Lisa Julianna (new)

Lisa Julianna (lisajulianna) | 1053 comments Welcome Andrew, Glad you are here! I am sure you will make some great friends. Everyone here is very nice. :~)

message 3: by Jen B (new)

Jen B (jennybee618) Welcome, Andrew! I actually just bought a copy of The Lazarus Project the other day ($4 for an autographed copy!) I cheated and started reading a little of it on the car ride home from the bookstore and I can't wait to start it for real

message 4: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10095 comments Mod
Hi Andrew, thanks for joining.
Yeah, methinks you are correct! Lots more fun here to be had than stuffy ole Library Thing!!

message 5: by Melissa (new)

Melissa (melissaconrad) | 23 comments I love Ishiguro! And I live in Reading! Nice to meet you. :) (I went into London today to hit up the Science Museum - biggest mistake ever because the kiddies are out of school. I didn't even THINK of what that would mean for the crowds!)

As for Kundera, I've only read Unbearable Lightness of Being, but that book was AMAZING, so I have the ebook of Life is Elsewhere, and I plan on reading it soon.

I'll have to look into Jorge Luis Borges though, I know nothing about him!

message 6: by Jeane (new)

Jeane | 4891 comments Melissa, when I lived in London and would visit the Science museum it was always really crowdy. All year round full of tourist from over the world... but it is great.

message 7: by Becky (new)

Becky (beckyofthe19and9) Welcome Andrew! I think that you will enjoy GR and TNBBC much more than LibraryThing. I had an account with them briefly, and while I do enjoy cataloguing, I was very limited by their set-up.

I love GR, though. No limit the amount of books that can be added, no limits to shelving, and infinite addiction possibilities, all in one free site. ;)

message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

Welcome to the group Andrew!

message 9: by Darla (new)

Darla (silvenfox) | 573 comments Welcome Andrew!

Petra in 4 days may have a bf fingers crossed (petra-x) *waving*
hi there Andrew

message 11: by Hayes (new)

Hayes (hayes13) Hi Andrew, welcome to the group.

message 12: by Susanna (new)

Susanna (susannap) | 7 comments Hi Andrew.
Oh I miss London...
Am new-ish here too.

message 13: by Robin (new)

Robin (robinsullivan) | 997 comments Hey Andrew...I've got a LibraryThing account but I'm too busy here to really keep up with it. Of the three major sites (Shelfari, Goodreads, LibraryThing) I think this is the best!


message 14: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Hi everyone, thanks for all the responses!!

$4 for an autographed copy, Jen? Wow, I have to move to the States! It's £14.99 over here! Anyway, hope you enjoy it, and look forward to reading your review in due course. I've finished The Question of Bruno: Stories now and would really recommend it - will post a review soon.

Hi Melissa, yeah, Science Museum in the holidays = chaos! I took my nephews there recently and they loved it, but I had a headache for a week! I haven't read Life Is Elsewhere, must look for that. I like Identity: A Novel and Ignorance by him.

Hey Fiona, don't be put off by The Unconsoled, it's probably his most experimental (and longest!!) one, and not my favourite either. I'd recommend maybe Never Let Me Go or An Artist of the Floating World.

Hi Susanna, I have already picked up a good recommendation from your library, but I think the title is too rude to mention in a family-friendly forum like this one :-) Running a bookshop in a picturesque Portuguese village sounds like a nice life. And Petra, a bookshop/cafe in the Caribbean is my long-held dream. It's fantastic that you are living it now! Hope it is going well.

Thanks everyone else for the welcome messages! Sorry that there are too many to reply to individually - don't want to write a book here :-) Look forward to getting to know you all more.

message 15: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Oh yes, sorry, you did say you want to read more Ishiguro :-) I just meant that The Unconsoled is not really representative of his other writing. I know a lot of people found it a quite frustrating book. Books like Never Let me Go have the same great writing, but with the additional benefit of things like a plot...

message 16: by Selena (new)

Selena (selenacurrently) I second Andrew's recommendation for Never Let Me Go. The book was amazing and it felt like Kathy was actually speaking to you - retelling her amazing story. My goal for the new year is to read everything Ishiguro has ever written (Though I guess I should leave the Unconsoled for last?)

message 17: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Hi Selena,

I think an Ishiguro year sounds like a great idea. I didn't mean to put anyone off the Unconsoled - it is a really interesting book, much more formally inventive and dreamlike than his other work. Just quite different from his others, and a bit of a love-it-or-hate-it book. So I wouldn't start off with it, but if you've read and liked one or two others then go for it! Look forward to hearing what you think.

message 18: by Eric (new)

Eric | 382 comments Welcome Andrew!

message 19: by Jon (new)

Jon Hi Andrew... originally a Londoner too, in Sydney now. Welcome, good to see another guy on board!

message 20: by Christy (new)

Christy | 181 comments Hi Andrew! Welcome aboard.

message 21: by Melissa (new)

Melissa (melissaconrad) | 23 comments My (incomplete) Ishiguro journey was fun because each book I read got weirder and weirder. I started with When We Were Orphans, simple enough, and loved the writing. Then I read Remains of the Day and wondered what happened to the idea of a plot! Then I read Never Let Me Go, which had its interesting storyline, and finally I got to The Unconsoled, which was just bizarre. Odd. Creepy.

(Sorry for my vagueness - I don't want to give any of the books away, so I'm just describing them in simple ways.)

Perhaps because I built to The Unconsoled, I found it gripping instead of frustrating. Okay, it was frustrating, but in a wonderful way!

The book I'm reading now actually reminds me of The Unconsoled. It's called Snow by Orhan Pamuk. It's not as creepy or bizarre by any means, but there are similarities nevertheless!

message 22: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Hi all, thanks for the messages! Good to see a fellow Londoner here, albeit one with the sense to live on the other side of the world :-)

Hi Bambi, I'm only kidding - London's great! We're having a cold snap right now, though, so pack plenty of winter clothing. And of course an umbrella :-) Kensington is beautiful, and a good base for getting around the rest of London. I'm sure you'll have a ball. And thanks to the fall of the pound, things'll be a lot cheaper for you than they were a few months ago! Let me know how it goes.

Hi Melissa, that sounds like a good journey! Yes, it's hard to discuss them without giving too much away, isn't it? If you're not already all Ishiguro'd out, I'd recommend his first novel, A Pale View of Hills. I found it really interesting because so much is left out - the narrator deliberately avoids talking about painful issues, like the suicide of her daughter (introduced very early, so not a spoiler!). It means there are things you want to know that you never find out: you only hear what the narrator wants you to hear. I look forward to reading your review on Snow. That's another book I've heard a lot about, and some very mixed opinions! Definitely sounds interesting, anyway, and I've added it to my 'to-read' list.

message 23: by Susanna (last edited Jan 07, 2009 12:07PM) (new)

Susanna (susannap) | 7 comments I followed all the thread and I've already added Ishiguro to my "to read" shelf, but I've added "Never Let Me Go"...should I start with "A Pale View of The Hills" then?

London is lovely all year around - I think so anyway. My cousin texted me today to ask if we're going to London. I said "not yet, cannot afford it" (£ seems to be going up again).

Well, in the meantime, I'm going to carry on reading "The Pillars of The Earth"...Very chilly here too. 9ºC - very cold to us! Nice to be able to curl up with a book.

message 24: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Hi Susanna

I love both books, so it's hard to choose. I think Never Let Me Go is probably a good place to start, though. It's a more recent book and more well-known. Beautifully narrated story that seems to be all about idyllic childhood reminiscences and then slowly develops into something darker. I think you'll like it.

Sorry to hear about the terrible weather conditions round your way. If you'd like to swap your 9-degree picturesque Portguese village for subzero north London, just drop me a line and I'll be happy to arrange it.

message 25: by Susanna (new)

Susanna (susannap) | 7 comments Andrew wrote: "Hi Susanna

I love both books, so it's hard to choose. I think Never Let Me Go is probably a good place to start, though. It's a more recent book and more well-known. Beautifully narrated story t..."

I'm dropping you the line.


I love England, London, the cold, the grey, the green...swap ANYTIME. When my friends go to back to England they text me saying "it's grey, it's raining, it's green. you'd love it". Yes, am a bit weird... England's weather never bothered me when I lived there. (I know I said it's cold here but what's uncomfortable is that houses are designed thinking of hot weather only and it can be very difficult to relax with a book if you're cold; in England thanks to central heating it was always nice and cosy).

I'll read that book next. It sounds really good. I sold quite a few copies of that book many books, so little time. (And so hard to decide what to read next).

OK, let me know when you want to swap. Before summer please. Don't like London when it's too hot.

message 26: by Lisa (new)

Lisa | 69 comments Hello Andrew! Love London - been there a couple of times. My husband did a semester of college there.

message 27: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Hi Susanna. Well, I guess we often love what we don't have. Londoners are always flocking south in search of sun, while people come from all over the world to enthuse about the London fog! I'll definitely take you up on the swap, as soon as your chilly old 9-degree weather has passed...

Hi Lisa! Glad you like London - it seems to be popular in this thread! Yes, it's not a bad old place. What's Ankeny like? Fascinating to meet people from so far around the world!

message 28: by Susanna (new)

Susanna (susannap) | 7 comments It's 3ºC swap then?

Off to bed.

message 29: by Lisa (new)

Lisa | 69 comments Ankeny is in central Iowa just north of Des Moines, the state's capital. Nice city - about 45,000 people. Good school district so lots of families. Otherwise, it's like a typical American suburb complete with stores, restaurants, and car dealerships! The only thing Ankeny doesn't have is a book store - the closest one is a 15-20 minute drive from here. We have a great library though!

message 30: by Jeane (new)

Jeane | 4891 comments I remembered the time i lived in London and would come back from Italy, there would always be young people who wanted to swap with me and go to London instead....I was very happy to that if I would have been able. I would have given my ticket for free if I could have and stayed nicely in Italy...

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